What do you normally think of when you think of the word Jewish? Probably white, right?
Do the pictures above look like your idea of what a Jewish person looks like? The first is U. S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the next is Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the last is Congressman Eric Cantor. Yes, they are all Jewish.
Before we head overseas, lets go to Chicago.
This is Rabbi Capers Funnye of Chicago, America’s most prominent black rabbi, and a relative of Michelle Obama. The article “The Obamas Have a Rabbi in the Family” explains:
Michelle Obama, wife of the Democratic presidential nominee, is a first cousin once removed of Rabbi Capers Funnye, spiritual leader of a mostly black synagogue on Chicago’s South Side. Funnye’s mother, Verdelle Robinson Funnye, and Michelle Obama’s paternal grandfather, Frasier Robinson Jr., were brother and sister.
Funnye (pronounced fuh-NAY) is the chief rabbi of the Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in southwest Chicago. He is well known in Jewish circles for acting as a bridge between mainstream Jewry and the much smaller, and largely separate, world of black Jewish congregations, sometimes known as black Hebrews, or Israelites. He has often urged the larger Jewish community to be more accepting of Jews who are not white.
It should also be noted that he supported Obama for election as well:
Funnye, who describes himself as an independent, said he has not been involved with the Obama campaign. He noted, however, that he has donated money and that he was cheering Obama on.
“I know that her grandfather and her father and my mom and all of our relatives that are now deceased would be so very, very proud of both of them,” Funnye told the Forward.
Michelle Obama and the Obama campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Funnye, 56, has known Michelle Obama (born Michelle Robinson), 44, since she was born. Both grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and Funnye’s mother and Obama’s father enjoyed a close relationship.
“Her father was like the glue of our family,” Funnye said. “He always wanted to keep the family very connected and to stay in touch with each other.” Funnye and Obama saw each other several times a year when they were growing up, mostly at family functions and on occasional visits to each other’s homes. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, recalled Funnye and his family coming over for visits and said that he and her children were “as close as cousins could be.”
Ethiopia and Israel
The Jews of India
Puerto Rican Jews
The Jews of China
Oprah on racism
“As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, he is trash.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
― Muhammad Ali